That Time I Was on the Cover of a Book


When I worked at Harlequin, Mills & Boon in London I had the best job. One of my responsibilities was to work with designers (and the authors of course) to design book covers. How fun? I’d have to read the book (or at least know the basic plot) and then write a really tight brief detailing target market, suggestions for art direction and even list tag lines, quotes and any other crucial information we wanted to include.

Some people say that book covers have become less important with the advent of e-books, but I still judge a book by its cover and whether I’m browsing online or instore, covers still have the ability to influence what I buy.

A book cover is the same as any other packaging, whether it’s for instant soup or shoe polish. You have to think about what the consumer will be attracted to, all the information they’re looking for and then design the book cover accordingly.

It was always such a thrill spending weeks and sometimes months on a cover, and then seeing that book on shelf instore and then watching it fly off into people’s handbags, homes and hearts. Even though I wasn’t the author, you’d feel this enormous sense of pride and even a little privileged that you got to be involved in the whole process.

Anyhoo….notice anything familiar about the person on the cover of Impetuous Innocent? Those elegant hands (and rather unkempt fingernails?). That collarbone? (note, since having children my collarbone is decidedly less bony). Well, you should, because it’s me. I can’t remember the exact details but I was at the shoot with the models and the costumes and the photographer and it was so much fun and then once everyone had left (and we were packing up), we noticed something amiss with one of the costumes and some shots were unusable.

And because I was the only female left, I think the photographer asked me to have a go and I was like, Me? Get into a beautiful satin costume? Parade around and be photographed? And be on the cover of a book? Don’t mind if I do.

I mean, I’m no hourglass beauty. I think that in the time of Regency London my dance card would have been rather empty because let’s face it, I’m not exactly bursting out of that dress with my heaving bosom. But still, these 34Bs did an okay job and people still buy the book – and that’s what counts.

So that’s how I came to be on the cover of a book. We even have a framed copy up in our house next to our bar and every time I tell someone it’s me, they don’t really believe me (I suppose it doesn’t help that my head has been cut off!). Either way, it’s not something everyone can boast about and a story to tell my grandchildren one day. Although they probably won’t believe me either…

Have good weekends all, xxx



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